Becca’s Macaroni & Cheese

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On January 2nd, most sane people are taking a fresh look at their cooking styles and thinking of ways to lighten things up a bit after the holidays.  Me?  I decided to tackle Macaroni & Cheese.   This is one dish that has foiled me time and time again over the years.  I would see a glossy picture of a delicious looking casserole dish full of macaroni goodness and I was off to the grocery store to load up on the necessary ingredients.  Wonderful smells drifting from the oven while it was baking would tease me and raise my expectations only to have my dreams crushed by the reality of the dish.  It was either too dry, too bland, or just too…bleh!

I was lured back to the Mac & Cheese challenge by a dish my friend Becca brought to our New Year’s Eve celebration at the lodge.  It was everything I was looking for – cheesy, creamy, well balanced with a surprise of diced tomatoes!  She was kind enough to share her recipe with me, and at first glance I was overwhelmed by the amount of cheese!  And it contained Velveeta no less – something I hadn’t thought of since I was a kid.  Do you remember Velveeta?  You needed the special wire cheese slicer to cut it – but it made the best toasted cheese sandwiches.

Well based on my previous track record – I decided to just follow the recipe.  And guess what?  It turned out fabulously!  I think the key to the success of this dish is the base sauce which is basically a hybrid between a béchamel and velouté – it contains both milk & stock.  This lightens it up just enough, but still keeps it creamy.  Of course the addition of Velveeta doesn’t hurt the creaminess factor.  The only changes I will make next time is to increase the amount of tomatoes and add some chives to help cut through the cheese.

Since this is such a rich dish, I would recommend serving it as a side dish or as I did in little individual tasting cups.



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One Response to “Becca’s Macaroni & Cheese”

  1. Martha Mc

    I gained 10 lbs just reading this recipe! We usually have macaroni and cheese with a salad but I think I’d have to go with your idea of small serving cups. It does sound delicious. I’d never considered tomatoes in mac and cheese until I saw Ina Garten’s recipe with sliced tomatoes on top. I think I like this one better with chopped tomatoes mixed in. But I do have a question about your comment “Velveeta does hurt the creaminess factor.” I recently read another recipe that called for Velveeta to ensure creaminess in a cheese sauce.I haven’t tried it yet but it made sense because Velveeta melts so easily. And yes, I agree, that Velveeta makes the best toasted cheese sandwiches. It’s what I grew up with and I still keep the slices on hand for that taste of my childhood.

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